I’ve been asked by pretty much every single person I know what my after-college plans were. The first few times I got the question, I would freeze and admit I didn’t know. I would then mumble something about maybe returning to Bolivia (my home country) for a little while, and figure out my next steps from there.
Now that the semester at the University of Massachusetts has started, the pressure to figure out my post-grad plan is growing by the minute. Here’s the thing though, while I do feel like I have to have a plan for my future — there’s no reason for me to have the next 50 years of my life already planned out (if you do, hats off, because I don’t think my brain has enough neurons to think that far ahead in the future). I can, however, figure out the beginning of a plan for the next year or two.
The first thing I realized was that preparing for post-grad life is not an easy game, especially in the journalism field — and that I needed help in getting my thoughts together. Luckily, the journalism department offers the best tool in the world: The Journalism Launchpad. Launchpad is a one-credit seminar taught by B.J. Roche aimed at preparing you for the professional world. From résumé tailoring to self-assessments, the five-week seminar provides every tool for those of us who want that extra push into the real world.
But, even with the tool The aunchpad offers, I also realized I needed to figure what I wanted for my future. So, every quiet moment I get, I ask myself the question what do you want? The answer varies a little, but over the past week, I’ve noticed a plan Lslowly start to emerge. I started out thinking I wanted to move somewhere in New England and find an internship for the summer, which would hopefully eventually lead to a steady job. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that’s not exactly what I want to do.
I’m still going to apply to internships in the area, but right I know I’m starting to feel that my priority is to be close to my family. I’ve been resisting the idea to move back in with my dad, thinking that it represented some kind of personal failure. But it doesn’t have to be. Recent grads in the U.S. are pressured to be instantly independent as soon as they get their diplomas, and heaven forbid if we need a little extra help with rent or finding somewhere to live.
Yes, eventually obtaining full independence in life is important, but there’s no shame in needing help at the beginning. In fact, living with one’s parents is very common in Bolivia, with most people living with their parents well into their 20’s and even until marriage. While I wouldn’t live with my dad until I got married; I don’t think there’s any shame in living with family for a little while. So, more and more, my plan seems to be shifting to moving back in with my dad, find a job close to where he lives, and saving money for graduate school.
Finally, I’m taking the time to enjoy my last semester at college. I have no idea what the future will bring, but I do know that this era of my life is about to end, and I have the chance to experience it to the fullest. Yes, it’s extremely stressful to think about the next stage of my life on top of all my classes, but taking the time to relax and enjoy the now is also important.
Whatever happens next, I know that I’ll be ready for it.